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 Post subject: I am terribly sorry...
PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:11 pm 
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Joined: 14 May 2007
Posts: 34
I understand that many who frequent these forums become a bit upset when they see these kinds of reoccuring questions popping up. However, after 2 hours searching through the forums for the questions i have, i have grown sick of reading through pages and pages of bickering over grammar and who-said-what-to-whom arguements. So if this post upsets you in any way, i am very sorry, and i implore you to READ NO FURTHER.

I am a magician in the Madison, Wisconsin area and I have been perfecting my hobby for 5 years. My initial interest was caused from basic card tricks and other such things I found online. As I grew older, I attempted more challenging illusions and added them to my arsenal of tricks. After introducing my magic to my classmates at my highschool, I quickly gained a reputation as "the magic man." And now, with my success in this setting (which i completely understand is in no way similar to the situation in which you are paid for your magic), I am looking to expand my art and perform in restaurants. From other posts, I have gathered that i should purchase "Live at the Jailhouse." My questions are...

1. How do I know when I am "ready" to perform restaurant magic? As i mentioned above, the vast majority of my performances have been in group lunchroom settings of 5 to 50+ students, normally surrounded. The restaurant magic setting is far different than this street-esque feel.

2. Do you recommend that I secure employment in multiple restaurants? Is one good enough? How do I go about gathering a "following" and getting my name out into the public?

3. What are good hours to work? What is an acceptable starting salary?

4. How do you get people to tip? I understand that it is in poor taste to request tips, and to "broadcast" your desire for tips through buttons or other comprable ideas.

5. What "style" of restaurant is suited for magic? I wouldnt even know which one to choose!

6. How many tricks are good for a table/routine? How many routines should I prepare? How does one prepare a solid restaurant routine? Does it differ from a strong street routine?

7. How does one dress for a restaurant gig? Is it a suit and tie ordeal, or are street clothes acceptable?

8. How does one decide if a trick is "restaurant compatible"?

9. Is it truly bad to use a gimmick in restaurant magic? I have seen both sides to this arguement, and im wondering what to do...

10. What are some great ways to show a manager that you are going to be beneficial to the business in his/her establishment? Are methods such as a "two-card-monte with a wager involving purchasing a round of drinks" in poor taste?



Thanks for all of your help, and once again, if this repetitive post has upset you in any way, i sincerely apologize.


-sinergy22


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2008 11:28 pm 
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Joined: 14 Jan 2007
Posts: 303
Location: Practicing in Fairfield, CT
This is not my essay and I don't remember who wrote it but it answered all my questions about restaurant walkaround.


.: Getting the Job :.


There are many sources out there that go into detail about choosing a restaurant to approach. Some suggest you should eat there first and possibly write a letter to the manager, but ultimately getting a restaurant gig seems like so much else in life: a numbers game. There are some guide lines to make your time more productive, but ultimately you are going to have to go out and talk to restaurant managers about their needs.

One thing I found is that some restaurants are more willing to hire a magician than others. Chain restaurants (e.g. franchises) are usually more difficult than those that are individually owned. Also places that already have some sort of entertainment are more likely to hire a magician, so look for places that have live music on the weekends, or seem to cater to fun-loving crowds.

I would recommend making a list of potential places near your home where you might be able to secure a job and then systematically approaching those restaurants. This way you are less likely to get discouraged when you get a few no’s, and trust me you probably will.
You should approach the restaurant manager when things in a restaurant are slowest. You should be wearing appropriate attire, and grooming should be of a high standard. In short, you should look professional. These small details count.

Introduce yourself to the host and ask if the manager is in, mentioning that you do not have an appointment. When the manager comes out, shake hands, introduce yourself and tell them that you would like to take 8 minutes of their time to show him how to increase hospitality, customer satisfaction, and floor traffic. This lets them know that you are not planning on being there all day and that what you have to say will be profitable for the business. If you say 10 minutes rather than 8 minutes it seems less precise and they will probably assume that by 10 minutes you really mean half an hour. When you say 8 minutes it comes across like a person who knows exactly what they is doing and has it down to the minute. Of course this then means you need to make sure that your presentation is about 8 minutes or thereabouts.

You then explain that you are a strolling magician and describe to him all the ways that such entertainment can benefit his establishment. Some ideas:
.:Cover a delay in the kitchen
.:Entertain guests while they wait to be seated on busy nights
.:Keep guests entertained between the time when they order and when their food arrives
.:Develop word of mouth advertising as people begin talking about the magic
.:Generate repeat customers as people come back, usually with friends, to share the magical experience
.:Generate new business as you describe all the marketing YOU will do to bring people into the restaurant
.:Increase customer satisfaction as their stay is more entertaining and fun
.:Get current guests to return on slower nights when they see the lobby board or table tents describing the entertainment on the night you work.

Notice that you do NOT show them a magic trick. Don’t even pull out a deck of cards or any props. You may think that you can help sell your program by demonstrating your magic but you must recognize that the manager is not going to hire a “magic show”. If they hire at all, it will be because they are buying bottom line benefits to there business. They want increase revenue and will only hire you to the extent that they believe you will provide them.

I would then ask if they agree that those benefits would help there bottom line. Hopefully they say yes (If they do say no, thank them and leave as you will never convince them, so don’t waste your time or theirs). Then you ask if it would be possible for you to return on (whatever day you want to work) for a free trial night of entertainment. Stress that there is no risk, no commitment, and absolutely no charge for this night of entertainment, just a chance for you to demonstrate what you can provide for this restaurant. Rarely will you get a no at this point. If they ask to see a trick tell them that you would rather come in and show them how the patrons react to the magic. Push for the trial night of entertainment.

At this point you may get an inquiry as to the price you charge. Try and put them off, saying something like, “Let me work for free and then we can try and determine the value of my services”. If they insist say something like “I regularly charge $300 per hour for my strolling, in this situation I would be willing to drastically cut my rates because first of all, it would be a regular engagement rather than a one-time deal, and secondly because I think it would be fun to work here. Your guests ( I’ve learnt to always call them guests, never customers, it shows you are up on restaurant lingo) are the same demographic that I cater to and I think it will be a mutually beneficial relationship. I would not expect to get paid any more than $100 per night, but again, we can discuss this later if you want.” By saying “not any more than $100 per night” you leave the obvious implication of flexibility. Maybe you’ll take $75, maybe $50 with a meal, but maybe a night is only two hours, maybe it is four.

On the night of your performance you should make sure everything is ready to go, your attire is clean and pressed and you have all the necessary equipment. Arrive early and introduce yourself to the management and other staff. Perform your best magic and, on this night anyway, refuse all tips. Instead, strongly encourage every person who wants to tip you to speak to a manager instead. I just tell them that the best tip they can give me is to tell the manager how much they enjoyed the entertainment. Your goal is to keep the managers flooded with complements about YOU and the quality of your work. You may also want to take the tip and pass it along to the waiter or waitress who was working that table. Tell him or her that you always split tips with the staff (even though you gave her the whole tip). Tell them this is your trial night and that they should tell the manager how much the table liked you.

When you leave, let the manager know that you are going and that you will be calling to discuss where they want to go from here. The next step is going back in and negotiating your fee. I try to always get at least $100 for 3 hours of work. If they contend that’s too much or they only need 2 hours then I would adjust some.

.: Keeping the Job :.


The secret to keeping your job as a restaurant magician is to understand the needs of your employer. They want their guests to have a great time, but if it isn’t profitable to keep you on the pay roll then your position is tentative at best. Not to fear. All you have to do is make sure that they are fully aware how much business you generate. This of course, means that you either need to generate lots of business or at least let them know you are trying.

Talk to each table that comes in. Tell them about what nights you are there and have them talk to the manager in lieu or in addition to tipping you. This increases the likelihood that when they return it will be on a night when you are working. When they tell the manager how much they liked your show it is instant feedback that will keep you in good with the management. Remember, in all reality, you are the least vital person in the restaurant and yet probably the highest paid. It is very important that you are constantly validating your cost to the company.

While it is important to be seen encouraging guests to return, you should also be marketing the restaurant outside. You should have a mailing list and/or email list of all your past clients, agents, friends, and family members. I think you should try to send out a note of this sort once or twice a year.
Another great way to get people into the restaurant on the nights you work is to invite potential clients to come see you perform. This is really win-win because the restaurant gets more guests, the client has a chance to “try” before they “buy” and you win because once they see you they will surely hire you to work for them!

You also want to keep the wait staff happy if you intend to work there very long. If you upset them they can make your life miserable and your career there short. You don’t have to kiss up to them, but remember that they make their money through tips. Many waiters feel that your tip might have come from what the guests were going to tip them. Thus the money you make in tips they feel almost came from their pockets.

.: Promoting Yourself on the Job :.


If your good enough you will be frequently asked for a card. As long as you carry some with you, you should have no problem getting referrals from your restaurant work. Just make sure the restaurant you are working caters to the people you want to perform for. Also ask the management if they mind that you’re handing out a personalized business card. If they disagree offer to have their business name noted somewhere on the card.

.: Tips :.


I’ll give you both sides of the argument and you can make your own decision.
ACCEPT TIPS - Tips increase the amount of money you take home each night. Tips are generally cash money, which is always nice. Besides, it’s an ego boost to have people tip you. It implies that your magic was above expectation. Accepting tips can actually double the amount of money you make on a given night.
DON’T ACCEPT TIPS - I already wrote about how accepting tips may upset the wait staff, but probably the most succinct argument against taking tips that I have ever heard is that it demeans you in the eyes of the audience.
By accepting, and worse, encouraging tips, many magicians bring the art of magic to the level of a street hustler. I know a magician who works for tips only. This is great if your objective is to earn a few extra dollars and get in some practice time in front of a live audience. But even the exposure is of limited value.

My policy, which i got from another magician, is to deny the tip twice but accept it on the third offer, just because I figure that they really want to say thank you in a way that means something to them. When they first offer a tip during my restaurant strolling I tell them “Thank you very much, but tipping is not necessary. My services are provided by the restaurant management as a gift to you.” If they offer again, I state “Really, I am paid very well for my services. Feel free to leave that with your server and tell her why you are leaving it. In fact, the very best way to tip me is to tell a manager how much you enjoyed my performance. Managers usually only hear from guests if there is a problem and you would be amazed how far your kind comments go with them on my behalf.” If they still insist I take the money, thank them again, and then tell them that I still expect them to compliment me to management as I point out a manager or the manager’s office. I figure that if they want to thank me that much, then they will be happy to speak to a manager if they realize how important that is to me.

.: Approaching Tables :.


I approach a table, smile, and say “ Hi. My name is Michael Sheridan. I’m part of the entertainment tonight: a magician. Would you like to see some magic, compliments of the management?” Of they say no “Okay. Thank you very much, and I hope you all have an excellent time here tonight. If you change your mind feel free to have your server let me know and I will be glad to come back.” Then I walk away and approach another table. If they don’t want to see magic, then I simply honor that wish and move on. People go out to eat for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes people don’t want to be disturbed. Sometimes people simply don’t like magic, no matter what. Don’t feel compelled to show these people the error of their ways.

.: Dealing with Tough Guests :.


It is not uncommon to approach a table and get into a routine and discover that one or more of the guests have either had too much to drink, or for some other reason are giving you a particularly difficult time. How do you handle such situations?

Finish the effect you are on, thank them for their time, invite them to come back and see you again, and then walk away with a smile on your face. That’s the great thing about strolling. Please note that I’m not recommending that you storm off or walk away in mid routine. You should never “teach them a lesson” nor should you be leaving in order to punish them. You simply smile, thank them sincerely, and move on. If your attitude is good then you can walk away and they will have no idea that you performed at their table for a much shorter time period than at anyone else’s.

.: What to Perform :.


Whatever you perform needs to fit into your pockets. It’s also good to have things that reset with a minimum of fuss. Personally, I prefer effects that either don’t use gaffed items, or at the very least the effects begin and end clean ( Thank you for the exchange Mr Goring). This way if a spectator asks to examine something (and they will) I have no problem. So that’s what NOT to perform. I honestly mostly use cards although as great and important as cards are, and contrary to what many magicians will try and tell you, a deck of cards is NOT a complete strolling act, though it could be in a pinch. Every strolling magician should carry sponge balls because these are perfect for both kids and adults. Rubber bands pack small, play big, and can be handed out after the effect is done. People love money and if you are working for tips it is a common practice to perform a money trick as your closing effect in order to get the money on the table.




Thanks for those that have read this far. Remember that these are only my opinions and im sure there are lots of things I missed touching on but feel free to add any info at all.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:02 am 
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If you are really serious about entering into the restaurant magic arena, buy Jim Pace's Restaurant Workers Handbook and/or Kirk Charles' Complete Guide to Restaurant and Walk Around Magic, then consider investing in one or more of the collected volumes of the Magic Menu; there you will find the answers to all of your questions.

If you really are serious about restaurant magic, you should do what many of us who are really serious about restaurant magic did, which is consult those resources, not expect to find the necessary information in a forum largely populated by teenagers who don't know anything about working in the real world. I don't say this to be rude; I say it because it really is what you should do.

Just go out and get them. You can thank me later. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:05 am 
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Alright. You have many questions!
Let me say that I am NOT a professional, nor have I worked in a restaurant on a regular basis. But I have been working on getting my restaurant plan worked out for a while, and I plan on working restaurants when that is all done.
Also, I have read the advice of working professionals here on the board, and I have talked to a few in my area. So I know a thing or two.

1. Some would say that if you have to ask if you're ready, you are not ready, and I agree with that.......somewhat. If you are confident that you can walk into any setting and entertain with your magic, then you have a good start. Restaurants are open to EVERY kind of person, so you must be ready to face situations with EVERY kind of audience. If you are confident that you can do so, then you are in a good place.

2. I don't think that more than ONE restaurant would be a good idea if you are just starting out. You will have too much on your hands. Most pros don't even work more than about three restaurants.
To "get your name out there," I have found that accepting VOLUNTEER gigs among family friends or organizations will get your name to spread among other people.
If you strictly want to get your name to restaurants, simply go in, maybe have a meal, and request a talk with the manager. It is also handy to have a good letter (along with your business card) typed up about your service, and HOW IT CAN HELP THE RESTAURANT. This is always a good way to go. You could even make up a pamphlet, if you are so inclined.

3. Hours of service are really up to the restaurant, and you have to decide if you are okay with working those hours. There is no recommended time, because you have to decide how it will work with YOUR schedule.
Salary can be hard to say. Sometimes the manager may ask, outright, what you charge. You should always have a price in mind. You don't want to say, "uh......I don't know.... :roll: " because that will make you look unprofessional. Sometimes a magician will give the restaurant a free "trial" night of performing, and then if the manager likes what he / she sees, the magician can then talk about fees, and what seems reasonable. But, like I said, you should always have a good number in mind. A good starting price is $25, or (depending on the restaurant), $50 an hour.

4. Tipping should be the LAST thing you worry about. The fact that you are getting paid by the hour means that you DO NOT NEED TIPS. If the audience decides to tip you, that is fine, you can take it. However, if they don't feel like tipping, don't try to squeeze it out of them.
Also, if you get tips, you should give them to the wait staff, because they will not be making as much as you, and you can maintain good standing with the staff this way.

5. The "style" of restaurant is a bit tricky. You don't want a place like I-Hop, where people are set up in a row, trying to wolf down pancakes and get out. That is just a bad idea. You also don't want a place that is too noisy. That can make it very hard on you and the audience. I recommend a place that has a set up in which tables are not too close together, so that your performance is somewhat personal, and so that the whole restaurant cannot see everything you are doing at that one table. You want a place that looks like it will attract a good type of audience. By that I mean you want the kind of restaurant that looks a little fancy, a little formal, but not so much that everyone there will be dressed up.

6. A good number of tricks / routines is three to five. You want about 5-7 minutes for each performance. Any longer than this can get in the way of the wait staff, and can annoy the audience.
However you create your routine, keep in mind WHERE you are performing, and FOR WHOM. You want a routine that will be accepted by all (keep kids in mind).

7. Dressing depends on the restaurant, but as a general rule, you want to dress one step above the people who will be eating there. You want to stand out, so that people know you are there for a special purpose, and that you are not just a customer. Depending on the restaurant, you may even need a full formal suit. However, in a typical place, that won't be necessary.

8. "Restaurant-compatible" is decided by the audience. And the audience, in a restaurant, is constantly changing. You have to keep in mind every kind of person that would attend that restaurant, and that means kids, too. You obviously don't want to use SAW or the Razor Blade Illusion in ANY restaurant. Just be sensible, and think about the audience.

9. Gimmicks are a matter of opinion. In my opinion, if a gimmick is reasonable, has a good use, and is easily reset-able, it is okay to use (i.e. a TT, Expanded Shell, Flipper Coin, etc.). Don't use anything that will just take up space. I would say that it's good to try to use non-gimmicked routines as much as possible, but if the gimmick is necessary, or it is reasonable, consider it.

10. As I said in question #2, you will want to write up a letter or pamphlet explaining your service, and how it can work IN THE INTEREST OF THE ESTABLISHMENT. You should include your contact information (business card) and you should deliver it in person. Talk to the manager, explain briefly what your intentions are, and give him / her the information.
Don't try to use a trick to get the job. That just shows that you are probably not very professional, and you have no real personality. If the manager wants a quick demonstration, then by all means, be ready with SOMETHING, and / or offer a free trial night. Be professional and confident.

As a final note, all of these questions and more are answered on "LIVE at the Jailhouse," so you should really just pick it up and absorb.

You are welcome.


Last edited by cameronb on Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2008 12:06 am 
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My first piece of advice is to get:

* The Complete Guide to Restaurant and Walkaround Magic, by Kirk Charles
* Restaurant Workers Handbook, by Jim Pace & Jerry MacGregor
* Magic Menu: The First Five Years (in addition to any other issues you can get your hands on.), edited by Jim Sisti
* Real World Magic, by Jerry Mac Gregor
* Making A Living Performing At Restaurants & Hotels by Carl Andrews
* Video: Making A Living Performing Close-up Magic by Carl Andrews
* Video: The Strolling Magican, by Carl Andrews
* David Stone's Real Secrets of Magic
* Live at the Jailhouse
* Anything from Eugene Burger on the subject
* Anything from Paul Green on the subject

Those sources contain a plethora of information, and will answer pretty much any question you have on the subject.

Now to answer your questions.

1) You're not ready. If you have to ask, then you know you aren't ready. How old are you? I can't completely answer this question without knowing that. Also, I would say you should purchase some material on the subject before even considering approaching a restaurant.

2) I work at multiple restaurants. I get more work this way. You may also like to read my blog at http://belzianmagic.blogspot.com/. In it I discuss how to create promotional material (which you will need) and I will soon be adding more information on advertising and promotion. I'm linking to it just because it's easier than typing all of that information here.

3) That depends on your location and the restaurants you work. Once you purchase the sources that have been suggested, you will be able to answer that question yourself.

4) I know Paddy here, who is a professional here, and is well worth listening to, uses buttons. I believe he does it more in a comedic manner. Some people get tips by borrowing money during their routines. It gets money out on the table, and sometimes the spectator will just give it to you as a tip. Personally, I don't do anything to get tips. Many people will just tip you naturally. Those sources will discuss this more in depth.

5) Now we all know there are different types of restaurants. There are fast food restaurants which aren't worth dealing with. Then there are family restaurants which can be a very good idea. There are fine dining restaurants, which can also be a good idea, but they require a certain type of look and professionalism. There are bar and grills, which I find to be a fine place as well. They usually want someone older though. There are buffets, which usually don't do magic, but if you do balloon animals, you may get a gig there. I've also found that some Asian restaurants do accept entertainment. In those cases, I always present Asian themed magic though. There are also those local mom and pop restaurants which sometimes will, but they may not have the funds to do so. Those are all of the types of restaurants that come to mind right away. If I think of others, I will list them as well.

6) 3-5 effects. I would say prepare 3 routines at least. If you check out the blog that I posted above, I also explain how to create a show. Now, the basic idea is still there, but you will have to modify it for what you want.

7) One step above what the average customer will be wearing.

8) You have to consider whether or not the angles work. You don't want something that will upset people (don't do shock magic). You want short effects, or effects that you can quit in the middle of. You want effects that don't have much set-up. The sources above will give you a lot more information on the issue.

9) No, gimmicks are not bad.

10) A well designed promotional kit can go a long way.


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 Post subject: Re: I am terribly sorry...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:45 pm 
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sinergy22 wrote:
Before answering, let me say that this is undoubtedly the best articulated post asking this question. You actually asked the right questions as well. I applaud you sir.

1. How do I know when I am "ready" to perform restaurant magic? As i mentioned above, the vast majority of my performances have been in group lunchroom settings of 5 to 50+ students, normally surrounded. The restaurant magic setting is far different than this street-esque feel.

Different feel, yes.
Different format, no.
Your surroundings there are a perfect training ground for choosing material. This has less to do with being ready than it does with being prepared (there is a difference).
Truely, no one is "ready" to work in a restaurant until they've already done it. I suggest you build some routines and make a few runs to the food court at your local mall. Perform just as you would in a restaurant, and do some experimenting. When your routines are as perfect as you can get them, and you have a humorous line to combat every heckler, you're as ready as you can get.
For clarification:
Ready: psychological preparation and accumulation of knowlege
Prepared: Getting stuff together and getting effects chosen


2. Do you recommend that I secure employment in multiple restaurants? Is one good enough? How do I go about gathering a "following" and getting my name out into the public?

You're unlikely to get more than one when you first start out. I recommend trying multiple places, but you need to crawl before you try to run. One for now, and get another when you find it's gotten easier.

Following? Who has a following? Do you just mean fans? You get them by being the best darn magician you can be - that's all you can do.



3. What are good hours to work? What is an acceptable starting salary?

Hours: Dinner time (5-9pm)
Salary: That depends on the location (where are you), type of restaurant (family, Bar, greasy spoon?), and patrons (rich clients can = more money).


4. How do you get people to tip? I understand that it is in poor taste to request tips, and to "broadcast" your desire for tips through buttons or other comprable ideas.
Don't. There are a few effects that might help you out, but don't worry about it for now. That's something to worry about after you've gotten everything else prepared.
Buttons: That depends entirely on your style (here we go again).


5. What "style" of restaurant is suited for magic? I wouldnt even know which one to choose!

All. But different magic is suited for different places. Think about WHO is there - i.e. Card tricks aren't good for Chuck-e-cheese and Magic coloring book isn't good for the patrons of "Le Snail". :wink:

6. How many tricks are good for a table/routine? How many routines should I prepare? How does one prepare a solid restaurant routine? Does it differ from a strong street routine?

WOW. That's like 6 individual questions.
1: Do it by time not by number. 5-7minutes.
2: I have 5 and use 2-3 per night
3: That's a heck of a question which has never gotten a definative answer. I suggest you buy "The Restaurant Act" by R. Paul Wilson - he gives alot of tips on how to create a routine for a restaurant. Cardinal rule: everything must be automatically reset when the routine is over - you don't have time to reset things manually.
4: What do you consider a strong street routine? If you're calling the strolling magic you do in your lunchroom "a street routine" then no, not really. Strolling and restaurant magic are essentially the same, and street magic is strolling magic at heart.


7. How does one dress for a restaurant gig? Is it a suit and tie ordeal, or are street clothes acceptable?

Jacket and slacks for me. I've heard sucess with a jacket and jeans, but I don't care for jeans.
You need to look descent at any rate and you should have a jacket if only for the utility it offers. Try the Suit Separates area. P.S. Don't bother with a tie, they just get in the way.


8. How does one decide if a trick is "restaurant compatible"?

Not angle sensitive.
Requires no reset or set-up time (excluding pre-show set-up time).
Can be done using only you and your spectator's hands - no table space.
Funny is good.


9. Is it truly bad to use a gimmick in restaurant magic? I have seen both sides to this arguement, and im wondering what to do...

Not at all, but avoid gimmicks that have only one use. TTs are a great gimmick and I wouldn't work a restaurant without one, The Raven is a good trick but I wouldn't enter a restaurant with one. Avoid using gimmicked decks, not just because spectators have caught on to them, but because you can duplicate the effects with sleights and reduce your bulk as you work.


10. What are some great ways to show a manager that you are going to be beneficial to the business in his/her establishment? Are methods such as a "two-card-monte with a wager involving purchasing a round of drinks" in poor taste?

Using magic to win a bet (that you expect them to pay) in ALWAYS in poor taste. You show the management that you are beneficial with complements. If someone offers you a tip, ask them to keep it but to tell the management that they enjoyed the magic instead.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:09 am 
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Fallingblood, I was impressed by your knowledge before, now after going to your blog, the only thing I can say is DAM!!! You really do know your stuff!!!

EXCELLENT!! In fact I have bookmarked it so I can read it when you add things. Keep up the SUPURB work.

Paddy


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:12 am 
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Thanks, I really appreciate it Paddy.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:56 am 
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Sinergy 22, your questions do bother me. There have been some very good answers but I'll put in my ideas. Please note I did skip some but kept your numbers for clarity. You asked:

Quote:
1. How do I know when I am "ready" to perform restaurant magic? As i mentioned above, the vast majority of my performances have been in group lunchroom settings of 5 to 50+ students, normally surrounded. The restaurant magic setting is far different than this street-esque feel.

2. Do you recommend that I secure employment in multiple restaurants? Is one good enough? How do I go about gathering a "following" and getting my name out into the public?

4. How do you get people to tip? I understand that it is in poor taste to request tips, and to "broadcast" your desire for tips through buttons or other comprable ideas.

8. How does one decide if a trick is "restaurant compatible"?

9. Is it truly bad to use a gimmick in restaurant magic? I have seen both sides to this arguement, and im wondering what to do...


1. If you aren't sure, you aren't ready

2. You don't "secure employment." You are NOT an employee, you are an INDEPENDENT ENTERTAINING CONTRACTOR. There is a huge difference in the way taxes and insurance is handled. Also you MUST, WITHOUT QUESTION have performers liability insurance. This is not covered under homeowners but is a specific type of insurance.

4. Tip buttons are acceptable.

8. ANY trick is acceptable in a restaurant that is FAMILY FRIENDLY and I don't believe in any thing out of the mouth or a bite out coin is good for sanitary reasons.

9. Gimmicks are acceptable in any magic. The main gripe I have is when EVERY trick is a gimmick. Then you are not performing, you are doing the same as a trained monkey.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:42 pm 
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If they ask to see a trick show them a trick, other than that I agree with the post for the most part. You don't want to start seeming pushy and like a control freak, you are there to serve their needs from the getgo. This could also seal the deal if you are the performer you say you are. Never turn down a client when asked to see a sampling of the product.

It is only one little trick regardless. They may even be reluctant if you refuse. I would simply say "Sure, here is just a small sample of what I do." Then explain that they can see the rest on the first night. I disagree that you are not selling your magic, you ARE and you should be proud of that fact. But more so you are selling yourself, the magic is only an extension of YOU the performer. However magic is the base/backbone of the whole product, and you should not be trying to dance around that.

It makes you seem like you are trying to hide something, or that maybe you can't really perform, otherwise what do you have to lose by showing a quick demonstration? Granted there is a bigger picture, but ultimately you are going to be there doing MAGIC regardless of how you wan't to dance around it.

If I ask to test drive a car at a dealership, and the dealer tells me, "Well umm I would rather you buy it first, take it home, then you will see how good it runs," I am going to say "No thanks," and go to the next dealership. Also "one night" is no indication anyway, as it is going to take time for the word to spread around and generate business. Any manager who is not a complete idiot would know that. But it just gets your foot in the door.


Last edited by sirbrad on Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:55 pm 
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andrewlevino wrote:

I approach a table, smile, and say “ Hi. My name is Michael Sheridan. I’m part of the entertainment tonight: a magician. Would you like to see some magic, compliments of the management?”


This totally goes against what Jay Sankey says in his DVD "The Real Work On Restaurants And Bars." He says when you walk up to a table "There better be magic" within something like the first 5 seconds, and never ask them if they want to see magic because "They are not qualified to judge."

This isn't Uncle Billy pulling a quarter from your ear, they most likely have never experienced the kind of close-up magic you are about to do, provided you are a quality entertainer. I like the example he uses with the cut and restored straw. He walks up to the table with scissors in hand, and says "Don't anybody move or the straw gets it!" "Oops you moved!" He then cuts the straw and is already into the trick. No awkward questioning or pauses or excuses to come with to say no.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:09 pm 
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sirbrad wrote:
andrewlevino wrote:

I approach a table, smile, and say “ Hi. My name is Michael Sheridan. I’m part of the entertainment tonight: a magician. Would you like to see some magic, compliments of the management?”


This totally goes against what Jay Sankey says in his DVD "The Real Work On Restaurants And Bars." He says when you walk up to a table "There better be magic" within something like the first 5 seconds, and never ask them if they want to see magic because "They are not qualified to judge."

This isn't Uncle Billy pulling a quarter from your ear, they most likely have never experienced the kind of close-up magic you are about to do, provided you are a quality entertainer. I like the example he uses with the cut and restored straw. He walks up to the table with scissors in hand, and says "Don't anybody move or the straw gets it!" "Oops you moved!" He then cuts the straw and is already into the trick. No awkward questioning or pauses or excuses to come with to say no.


One of my often used openers is the Blank Deck flourish.

"Hey, did you know that you can get cards alot cheaper if you buy blank ones? (flourish) Since they don't need to pay for ink, it cuts the costs (close flourish). Of course, they make it up with all the extras. If you want the cards to print on their own (turnover pass) (spread) that's extra. If you want the cards that can change color (Eardnase) that's extra. This deck was $21.63 when I got it. Here, grab one of 'em". . .


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:21 pm 
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This is a extremely helpful thread, maybe think about making it a sticky any of you mods out there?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:50 am 
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fallingblood wrote:
How old are you? I can't completely answer this question without knowing that.


I am 17, about to turn 18. Despite my young age, I am very serious about performing magic, especially if it was for a job. It is my intent to slowly allow magic to overtake my other jobs (lifeguarding, sales) once i get more and more experience and paid magic gigs. I would love for my favourite activity to also be my job, especially right now, when I dont NEED money.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 9:01 am 
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Hm, sinergy22, it seems you and I are in about the same situation . . . and one of the few who use readable English . . . and I would like to add that this is is one of the best and helpful posts I have ever read.

Paddy and fallingblood are right, if you have to ask, you're not ready. I know I'm not ready, I feel I need another half a year or so under my belt of practice and experience. If you try to start to early you'll tarnish your image. I'm trying to be on pace to start performing professionally (only part-time of course, I am a college student) starting the end of this year.


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